Welcome to Issue 10 of Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place, and Community, which brings our focus to the great variety of water-related work being conducted at the University of Minnesota. The issue is posted online here.
A university as large as ours, with locations on Lake Superior and on the Mississippi River, engages water issues through students, faculty, and staff across a range of disciplines and colleges.
In this issue, you can read about work being done to understand the world’s largest lakes, and the myriad water-land-community intersections that are fundamental to our economy. University researchers and educators address a number of ways the practices of agriculture directly impact water. The threats of aquatic invasive species are the subject of another piece included here. We also have strong work through the social sciences addressing community engagement with water; the article here about fisherfolk near New Orleans is just one among many studies that are beginning to highlight the complexity of human/water relationships.
The complete story of the University’s work in water-related subjects cannot be told in just a few articles, so we have included a number of shorter sketches, labeled “Water @UMN Roundup.” Here you can read about music and computer modeling, about public engagement practices and innovative classroom projects, and much, much more. Look for additional coverage on the University’s water work in coming issues; there are many more stories to tell!
Our usual range of columns this issue all speak to water concerns, whether in water-centered pedagogy, a review that asks us to think in new ways about our modern understandings of water, or an article on ways that very specific abandoned farm fields yield deeply-buried water stories for a natural resources graduate student.
There is also a striking photo-essay on the development of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, and a rich store of video material that is widely available for study and analysis. Finally, our “Perspectives” column zooms out from campus to the nation, addressing the “One Water” movement headed by the US Water Alliance.
We think there’s much to learn and appreciate in this issue, whether you work or study at the University, are an occasional visitor, or your work involves water in another place. Look for PDF copies of the issue and individual articles in the next week or so, but go read online now!